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BLANKbottle “Retirement @ 65” 2019

R280.00 inc. VAT
"In June 2014, I arrived at a farm in Darling where I was met by a very grumpy farmer. And for good reason I soon learnt. I had bought bits of grapes from the farmer during that year’s harvest (which all turned out really promising) and was doing my annual post-harvest farm visit with a fresh barrel sample for the farmer to taste. One of his grape clients had previously persuaded him to farm a little Cinsaut vineyard by method of minimum intervention. Not in an organic kind of a way, but more towards a 300% leave-the- vineyard-to-be kind of way. To make a long story short, due to many contributing factors, all the grapes of this little Cinsaut vineyard ended up going to the pigs and he was blaming his minimum intervention 300% leave-the-vineyard-to-be client for all of this. To make matters worse, for the 62 years prior to this, the vineyard hardly produced grapes sufficient to produce wine with. You see, his grandfather planted the vineyard in 1951 and had still used a horse to plough the land. The vineyard is on the edge of the mountain in a little valley and the only food source around. So as the berries accumulated sugar, the birds would hop from bunch to bunch pricking the berries with their beaks, causing them to rot. And by the time the grapes ripened there weren’t much left. Now things like this interest me. I asked him if we could give it one more try. He reluctantly agreed on the basis that he farms the block the way he believes one should. I, in turn, agreed to buy bird nets to cover the vines and we had a deal. So mid 2014 the vines were neatly pruned and he took care of the weeds. That spring, after bud break, the first soft green shoots appeared. Everything looked good! Then, one Sunday afternoon, I received a photo on whatsapp. It was the vineyard in question with about 20 odd sheep feeding in the vineyard and no sign of the newly formed soft shoots - only brown stumps remaining as the vineyard celebrated it’s 64th birthday. Late that Friday night his sheep had broken through the fence and ate everything green in colour. So there went another crop and the farmer got even more despondent. But he didn't give up and so, in June 2015, he raised the fence. In early November we covered the whole vineyard in bird nets. Finally, in February 2016 (for the first time in 65 years!) the vineyard survived the onslaught of wild animals roaming the hillsides of Darling and we picked a very small, but healthy, crop. And this is the result: The forth vintage of Retirement@65, the 2019 - It is a radical red wine, only 12% in alcohol with this very natural vibe to it, driven by perfume rather than fruit, fresh and drinkable. Far removed from the style the new world is typically known for. With the block of Cinsaut now 68 years of age it ironically comes to life at the age of Retirement… Added to the Cinsaut is a little dash of Shiraz from the same area. And the label: A linocut I made to celebrate the fact that we won and the sheep lost." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle “Searching for L’Estrange” 2019

R285.00 inc. VAT
"A whole-bunch, clay pot, bees-waxy Palomino. The wine is true to it’s name - (L’E) STRANGE! It's made from humble Palomino, which originated in the Sherry producing areas of Spain. The cuttings were brought to the African continent by ship and planted in 1965 on the mountain in Piekenierskloof, 550 meters above sea level. The 54-year old bush-vine vineyard, grown in African soil was made in African pots made from Limpopo clay, enhanced by the wax of African bees producing honey from African flora - meticulously guided, bottled and labelled by the colourful hands of the African people." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Air Carrots of Pagnol 2018

R230.00 inc. VAT
"I know this is a more lengthy release than usual, but this is one story that needs to be told in detail - it’s one of those that, looking back, I can just shake my head in disbelief at how it turned out. - It all started with a wine called Manon des Sources. In short - It is a blend of Grenache blanc from Paarl/Swartland and Wellington, with a dash of Grenache Gris." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle B-BOS-1 2018

R240.01 inc. VAT
"My grandmother grew up on a farm near a town called Bredasdorp. It’s about 45 minutes drive from L’Agulhas, where the most Southern point of the African continent is situated. When she got married, she received a wedding gift from her parents - a plot of land right next to the ocean in L’Agulhas. She built a small wooden house with the money she received as wedding gifts (seems like the standard of wedding gifts has lowered significantly in the years since then…). It’s 75 years later and the wooden house called “T-nie-C” is now my mom’s and still fully operational as a family holiday house. This is our post-harvest, post-travel, post-bottling family hideaway and very close to our hearts. The place where the kids and Aneen and I reconnect with each other and ourselves, and also where I design most of my labels. Because of this, I’ve always wanted to produce a wine of origin Cape Agulhas. I had my eye on a few possible sites but it was a phone call from Caroline Rillema, owner of Caroline's Fine Wines (a wine shop in Cape Town), that was the start of an epic venture in this area. Caroline is a formidable force in the wine industry and she and her husband Ray, planted two vineyards on their holiday breakaway smallholding in a little town called Baardskeerdersbos. As the crow flies it is 47 km from our little house in L’Agulhas. If you translate Baardskeerdersbos into English, it means “Beard-Shavers-Bush”, named after a famous spider that lives in these parts of the country. This spider builds its nest from human hair… and the myth goes that when you go to bed at night the Baardskeerder spider will climb into your bed and shave your beard for the construction of his home. So I make wine from two different wines on Caroline’s property - B-BOS-1 and B-BOS-2." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle B.I.G. 2017

R275.00 inc. VAT
"This wine represents a Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. The first vintage of this wine was in 2015 and it had six vineyards in the final blend, all Cabernet Sauvignons from different heights above sea level. Unfortunately, in 2017, I lost two of the (quite crucial) vineyards due to smoke taint when there were veld fires. At the time of the fire, the berries were in a late stage of development. The smoke got stuck in the wax layer of the grape berry and during fermentation those flavours were extracted and cemented into the wine. Both these wines from the Ceres Plateau tasted like burnt, bitter bacon and we had to throw everything away eventually. We also lost the HBK Vineyard and replaced that with a new Vineyard on the slopes of the Helderberg called LAN. So I adjusted the original 2015 label accordingly. The label shows a landscape and identifies all the vineyards that went into the final wine. Each year I adjust the label accordingly. You'll see the flames added to the artwork of the 2017 label consuming the two Vineyards at 750 m above sea level." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle B.O.E.T. 2017

R267.00 inc. VAT
"Back in 2015 an old varsity friend referred me to a farmer called Boetie van Reenen. Not long thereafter a farmer whom I buy grapes from, as well as a fellow winemaker, referred me to the same guy. So with 3 solid referrals, I met with this Darling farmer who apparently had some really interesting opportunities when it came to varietals like Cinsaut and Chenin. In year 1, I bought some Chenin from him. Then, in year 2 (2016), the Retirement@65 vineyard came on board and finally, in 2017, a Pinotage vineyard. The 2017 was in barrel when we received the tragic news. Boetie had passed away after a fatal car crash. He was a keen fisherman and was on his way home from Ganzekraal. So today I’m releasing the BLANKBOTTLE B.O.E.T 2017 - mainly Pinotage with bits of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, as a dedication to BOETIE. For those of you who don’t know, Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (also known as Hermitage), hence the name Pino-tage. When it comes to reds, Pinotage is the first to ripen. Unfortunately, its early sweetness attracts birds from the mountain and they feast on the grapes. In the past, the farmer had therefore been forced to pick the 37-year old vineyard early, on a low sugar, before the birds came. But that meant that the grapes were not ripe yet and could only be used for the making of rosé. To prevent the bird-fest, I then purchased some bird nets and the farmer covered the little bush vines with it - it worked." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Boberg 2020

R260.00 inc. VAT
"2015 was the first year that I bought the grapes from this Vineyard. The Farmer calls the vineyard BOBERG, which means “on top of the Mountain”. It was a neglected little vineyard, old bush vines with no irrigation. The farmer identified it as a site with potential and started with a restoration process. The vineyard grows in decomposed granitic soil in Wellington. The site is cooler than the others in the area. I used it in 2015 as a component in the Moment of Silence blend. The vineyard seemed to produce a high acid even though it grows in extreme conditions. In 2016 and 2017 the farmer decided to move farming practises from conventional farming to organic. Boberg is now organically certified. He also installed irrigation to enable it to sustain heat waves during warm parts of summer." - Producer Note

BLANKbottle Empire 2017

R285.00 inc. VAT
"Just for the record – I am a huge fan of Swartland white blends. The image of South African wines has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and the Swartland played a huge part in this. Their wines, especially the Rhône-style white blends are top notch. They are fun, young, energetic and unique and started to gain international fame.Stellenbosch, however (where I studied winemaking), is the original EMPIRE of South African wine. Like most of us, I like to support the underdog, and in the case of white blends, the Empire became exactly that. So I created a white blend based on similar varieties – a combination that could give some of the Swartland white blends a go. The empire is therefore now striking back at the Swartland with a blend of an all-Stellenbosch Verdelho, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Viognier. The label consists of two sections. On the left part of the label you will see a half star, which was the logo for the “”Swartland Revolution””. And on the right – stripes that represent a traditional and conservative EMPIRE. And the red brother of Empire Strikes Back is EMPIRE 2018 – not striking back but just being himself. With Cabernet Sauvignon as driver and bits of Petit Verdot and Cabernet franc to compliment. The old style design label shows a combination crest. I combined the crest of Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg College – The 2 Empires when it comes to wine education – I studied at both…” – Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Empire 2018

R285.00 inc. VAT
"Just for the record - I am a huge fan of Swartland white blends. The image of South African wines has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and the Swartland played a huge part in this. Their wines, especially the Rhône-style white blends are top notch. They are fun, young, energetic and unique and started to gain international fame.Stellenbosch, however (where I studied winemaking), is the original EMPIRE of South African wine. Like most of us, I like to support the underdog, and in the case of white blends, the Empire became exactly that. So I created a white blend based on similar varieties - a combination that could give some of the Swartland white blends a go. The empire is therefore now striking back at the Swartland with a blend of an all-Stellenbosch Verdelho, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Viognier. The label consists of two sections. On the left part of the label you will see a half star, which was the logo for the ""Swartland Revolution"". And on the right - stripes that represent a traditional and conservative EMPIRE. And the red brother of Empire Strikes Back is EMPIRE 2018 - not striking back but just being himself. With Cabernet Sauvignon as driver and bits of Petit Verdot and Cabernet franc to compliment. The old style design label shows a combination crest. I combined the crest of Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg College - The 2 Empires when it comes to wine education - I studied at both..." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Epileptic Inspiration 2019

R260.00 inc. VAT
"1/3 Elgin Semillon that fermented and aged in French Oak for one and 1/2 years. 1/3 Elgin Semillon that fermented and aged in 330 liter clay amphora. 1/3 Baardseerdersbos Semillon, that fermented and aged in 330 liter clay amphora. I am not a fan of greener wines and therefore concentrate on picking the grapes when it is fully developed, which results in a riper-style Semillon. The story of Epileptic Inspiration: "Epileptic Inspiration 2013? You have no respect!", a Swiss guy told me on a recent trip to Zurich. Since the beginning of BLANKbottle, I have been designing my own labels. At first, it was because there was absolutely no way I could afford designers. I made use of Microsoft Word, typed BLANKbottle, placed it into a block and played around with the colours - no designing skills required at all. And, to be honest, for the first 10 years I actually didn't like my labels much (besides maybe the honesty of it). Every year, I would again have to fight off the desire to employ professional label designers. For those of you who don't know this: I started having Epilepsy at the age of 30. Then in November 2013, whilst not on medication, I had another huge epileptic fit (the second one ever). So the Dr booked me off driving and surfing, yet again. When I have a fit, what happens to me at first is that I forget everything. My long term memory returns quite soon thereafter (within hours), but I find that my short term analytical memory takes about 2-3 months to return - if at all... And this is how I started to design my new labels for the 2013 wines. I could not look at the computer due to the flickering screen. So I started making use of scissors, paint, Lino, pencil and old paper. And the result: I think I had a breakthrough in design, inspiration of Epileptic proportions. So the drawing and design of my own labels came as a direct result of my epilepsy. And here’s the strange part which I cannot prove - I believe that something in my brain changed due to epilepsy. Before epilepsy I had no skill or desire to draw paint etc. Now I still don’t have the skill, but at least I like my labels! All 47 of the ones coming your way in 2019." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Familiemoord Non-Vintage

R285.00 inc. VAT
"When it comes to Familiemoord, having all the components of a similar vintage are not that important to me. The 2019 vintage Grenache was a little bit lighter than usual. I had in barrel some 2018 and a little bit of that made the Grenade component a little bit plusher and when you mix different vintages the wine needs to be labelled as a non-vintage. The Grenache fermented whole clusters in an open top fermentation vessel. The 2018 component is from a trellised vineyard in Wellington where the 2019 is from a bush Vine Organically Certified Wellington Vineyard. The Pinot noir from Elgin were fermented 50% whole cluster and the Cinsaut from darling, 100% whole clusters. The fine crunchy tannins that come from the stems give this rather low in acid wine a sense of freshness." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Familiemoord Non-Vintage Magnum

R585.01 inc. VAT
"In 2013, I released a wine called Familiemoord - a wine about the extraordinary but true story of how the police thought I killed my son and buried him in a shallow grave in the vacant property next to our house. The Cape Argus' article on 11 May 2013 about the incident titled “The mystery of the boy in the sandpit” serves as this wine’s label. Don’t worry, my son is alive and well and is turning 14 in September - 7 years after I “killed” him. This wine has generated the most reaction of any wine I have ever produced - and not for any of the reasons a winemaker would hope for. In fact, most people were totally oblivious as to the terroir (Swartland) or cultivar (Grenache noir) of the 2013 vintage! Some countries were uncomfortable with the name, so in 2015 I stopped producing it. But in 2018 when the dust has settled Familiemoord came back and this is the release of the 2019 - which in this case is not a 2019 but a non vintage… A blend of Wellington Grenache, Elgin Pinot and Darling Cinsaut. When it comes to Familiemoord, having all the components of a similar vintage are not that important to me. The 2019 vintage Grenache was a little bit lighter than usual. I had in barrel some 2018 and a little bit of that made the Grenade component a little bit plusher and when you mix different vintages the wine needs to be labelled as a non-vintage.The Grenache fermented whole clusters in an open top fermentation vessel. The 2018 component is from a trellised vineyard in Wellington where the 2019 is from a bush Vine Organically Certified Wellington Vineyard. The Pinot noir from Elgin were fermented 50% whole cluster and the Cinsaut from darling, 100% whole clusters. The fine crunchy tannins that come from the stems give this rather low in acid wine a sense of freshness." - Winemaker Note